Thursday, November 3

making blah days count

Blah days are impossible to escape, and I highly doubt a human being has ever had a life free of them. As you may have gathered from reading about my life, I have had a few blah days slash months. I would define them as days where it seems impossible to carry on with life’s normal activities. You don’t have to have CFS or POTS to know what I’m talking about – bouts of depression, the flu, the headache, unstable mental state, burn-out, heart break and other debilitating ailments fall into this category. The key is to accept that this day will not resemble other days, and for your mental and physical well being, it will be best if it doesn’t. (If you are chronically ill replace ‘day’ with year or decade).
While it’s good to have a strong sense of duty and self discipline, it can lead to strife if there is no off-switch for the case of legitimate ‘blah days’. I often forget that self discipline is just as necessary for inhibiting my desires to overwork as it is for motivating myself. I do Alexander Technique lessons (which I will deal with in another post) and my teacher used to encourage me to cancel lessons just so that I learnt the skill of inhibiting my compulsion to ‘do the right thing’ to the detriment of my body. You gain nothing by pushing through, because chances are you will crash and burn in the end, and spend much longer recovering from that than if you let yourself rest now. My parents did tell me this, but I decided to learn it the hard way.
 My bossy and over developed conscience has significant issues with days out of routine. It drones in my ear over and over, “You need to do your flute practice!” or “If you don’t do your exercise today you’re a hypocrite for saying you exercise six days a week” e.t.c. So I have to attack my conscience with a stream of logical statements. (I should be a psychologist). Pow, I hit it with truths such as; a day off practice will do absolutely no harm in the long term and I’m not prone to laziness. The latter part of that statement is crucial – if your feelings are out of character then you know you haven’t got a bad case of laziness. Do be prepared for repeated attacks throughout the day, but keep firm and courageous. Bam, Pow, just hit them hard. Annihilate them. It helps me to have a friend to encourage me that my decision to take it easy is wise. In the past, the nasty buggers (guilt thoughts) have made me doubt if I’m even ill...or is it just in my head?! I used to test if I was for real or not by going flat out like a well person. Usually, I was shriveled up in bed by lunch time or before, unable to move for many hours. The proof was comforting if a little uncomfortable.
So, sense of duty has been switched off, thoughts have been radically destroyed and you wonder how to use this period of time...

It’s crucial that you don’t get bored. 
Boredom + said ailment = crying mess of a person. 

-  Pillow, blanket, teddy bear and classical music is my regular.
-  Drink cups and cups of tea.
-  Watch an inspirational movie, though not too sad in case it propels you into further misery. I suggest, “The King’s Speech.”
-   Sit in the sunshine wearing very little. I believe the sun has remedial benefits far greater than production of Vitamin D.
-   If you can read and have a good book, do some of that. I find psalms sad and real and soothing. Audio books are wonderful inventions for the seriously ill.
-  Go for a gentle stroll and literally smell the roses. I often stop Ben in our walks and say, “Wait on, I’ve just got to smell this rose here.” It’s always worth the time!
-   Create something so that you have a sense of achievement - for me that is knitting, sewing, card making, painting, collage...
-  Spend time with someone whose company is enjoyable and invigorating; someone who doesn’t mind that you’re not vivacious and lively. For me that’s my husband who listens and makes me smile, and my best friend who makes me laugh hysterically no matter how ill I feel.
-  Write me an email, you will be sure to get a reply.
-  Read about someone who is suffering more than you to shift your focus. When I read about paraplegics, those with mental illnesses and cancer I just go “wow, I’m here, I’m moving...I’m just without energy. I’m so grateful that my ailment is so mild in comparison.”
-  Think about life. Think about what you’re doing here, and what’s important. I did a lot of thinking and decided that quality of life is a lot more important than success in life.

Surviving and persevering really does depend on how you use your down times – I’ve had days where I let myself lie bored and despairing for hours on end. I can assure you that I got to the end of those days and declared them wasted. None of these suggestions can take away the pain, but they have helped me to make the blah days count. 


  1. Oh so frustratingly true Dee. <3

  2. (ST) I love your writings x

  3. Thanks for reading and the encouragement :-)you understand it all too well xx